When you’re preparing to knit in the round, joining is a critical step. Your pattern will tell you how many stitches to cast on, and then it will ask you to join in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.
Even one little twist will result in a potentially unusable piece of knitting, so it’s worth taking your time and making sure that everything is lined up properly before you continue.
When you’re ready to join to knit in the round, you’ll need to turn your work so that the last stitch you cast on is at the tip of the needle in your right hand, and the first stitch you cast on is at the tip of the needle in your left hand (in my photos, I used a circular needle but the same applies to double pointed needles).
To actually join into the round, you’ll need to knit that first stitch you cast on, but make sure there is no twisting first. Look below for an example of how a correct, untwisted alignment should look right before you join:
The red line is running parallel to the cast on stitches, and you can see that it doesn’t twist around at any point—it forms a clean circle. If your project looks like this, you’re ready to work the first cast on stitch and your join will be complete.
The next photo shows an example of a twisted alignment, which will need to be corrected before knitting the first cast on stitch and joining the round:
You can see how the red line that follows the cast on is twisting around the needle before straightening back out at the first cast on stitch. It’s easy to fix this after you’ve identified the twist—just take hold of the stitches with one hand and spin them on the needle until the twist is worked out and it looks like my first photo. Once you’re confident that there is no twisting, you’re ready to work the first cast on stitch and continue with your pattern!